The Sharon Playhouse, the arts and entertainment showcase in the Northwest Corner is pleased to announce its new leadership. Newly appointed Artistic Director Carl Andress, Managing Director Rodney Christensen, and Associate Artistic Director and Director of Education Michael Kevin Baldwin, will continue its tradition of pairing extraordinary talent from Broadway and Hollywood with talented local actors from the Litchfield, Dutchess, Westchester, and Columbia county regions.
This unique three-pronged leadership model is designed to launch the Sharon Playhouse into its 2023 season and beyond with dynamic vision, tenured expertise, and the belief that the power of theater brings transformative experiences to individuals and our society at large.
“From the beginning, this Playhouse has been about blending and overlapping,” said Emily Soell, Board President. “Professional actors, aspiring thespians, with local talent; theater with education; musicals with dramas; beloved classics with newer works. This new leadership team is a perfect reflection of who we are as a theater.”
Said Andress: “I am delighted to join the Sharon Playhouse as the new Artistic Director and partner with Rod and Michael to maintain and expand the level of excellence that this company has enjoyed since its inception. Our shared goal is to bring high-quality entertainment and educational opportunities to our audiences and to make the Sharon Playhouse a favorite destination of theatergoers and theater artists alike.”
The 2023’s Summer/Fall lineup will include the playhouse premiere of the musical comedy Something Rotten by John O’Farrell, Karey, and Wayne Kirkpatrick (June 23-July 9); the iconic musical classic Oliver! by Lionel Bart (August 4-14); the timeless tale Our Town by Thornton Wilder (Sept. 15-24); the clever, Broadway hit, The Lifespan Of A Fact by Jeremy Kareken, David Murrell, and Gordon Farrell (Sept. 29-Oct. 15); and during the Summer, four undeniably fun youth theater productions: Peter and the Starcatcher, A Year With Frog and Toad, Kids, and Disney’s Newsies JR., and Sharon Playhouse Stars.
In addition to the mainstage productions, reading series, the writers’ playground, summer camps, classes, and youth theater programming, the Playhouse plans to bring even more special events, cabarets, concerts, and community engagement to the town of Sharon and beyond – making this arts & cultural hub a year-round theater for all!
The Sharon Playhouse is a regional, non-profit theater producing high-quality performances with Broadway-caliber actors as well as talented local community members. Its mission is to entertain the community of Northwest Connecticut and beyond, while also serving as a teaching theater to encourage aspiring actors and other theater artists of all ages to develop their craft.
CARL ANDRESS (Artistic Director) is an American theater and film director and producer who is proud to have staged over 15 original productions of critically acclaimed plays written by and starring Charles Busch, including The Tribute Artist, The Confession of Lily Dare, The Divine Sister, Die, Mommie, Die!, and the films The Sixth Reel and A Very Serious Person. He has worked on many New York and regional productions, developmental workshops, new works festivals, as well as numerous galas and benefits, including the annual Broadway Belts for the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation, Literacy Partners Evening of Readings, and the NY concert premieres of The Visit, A Wonderful Life, Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol, and Valley of the Dolls all to benefit The Entertainment Fund (formerly The Actors’ Fund) on Broadway. Carl is the co-recipient of the 2022 Einhorn Mentorship Award, given by the prominent New York theater company, Primary Stages. carlandress.com
ROD CHRISTENSEN (Managing Director) With over 25 years of experience in the nonprofit arts sector, Rod has been the Managing Director at Southgate Education in New York City – an arts education company that creates audience enrichment resources such as Broadway Study Guides (e.g., Moulin Rouge, Mean Girls, King Kong, SquareBob SpongePants, Miss Saigon, Les Misérables, Kinky Boots, Lysistrata Jones, Tuck Everlasting, Billy Elliot, Driving Miss Daisy, and Million Dollar Quartet). Prior to his work in NYC, Rod spent eight seasons at Canada’s prestigious Shaw Festival Theater where he held the positions of Senior Education Manager and Senior Manager, Audience Sales & Services. He also served as Executive Director and Director of Education at TADA! Youth Theater in NYC and held leadership positions at the Warner Theatre in Torrington, The Maritime Aquarium in Norwalk, The Garth Homer Developmental Disability Centre in his hometown of Victoria Canada, and performed with the international, educational touring program Up With People! Rod holds a Master of Education in integrated studies, a Bachelor of Music in Education, and a diploma in business management and leadership skills.
MICHAEL KEVIN BALDWIN (Associate Artistic Director/Director of Education)
Michael first performed on the stage of the Sharon Playhouse when he was 10 years old. It brings him immense joy to now be a member of the staff of this incredible organization. Michael wears many hats at the Playhouse, including teacher, director, actor, and playwright. Directing credits at the Playhouse include A Midsummer Night’s Dream, A Charlie Brown Christmas, Frozen, Jr., and Marie Antoinette, starring Lauren Ambrose. Last summer Michael directed Pride and Prejudice and played Tony Whitcomb in Shear Madness. As Director of Education, Michael has initiated in-school performing arts residencies at IMS, Housatonic, and Sharon Center School. Michael co-created and directed the play #BraveSpace, which premiered at New York University’s Forum on Ethnodrama. Michael has conducted masterclasses and delivered speeches all over the country, most notably serving as a keynote speaker for The Educational Theatre Association’s “Theater in our Schools” initiative. Michael received a Bachelor’s Degree in Theater and Sociology from Skidmore College and a Master’s Degree in Education from The City College of New York.